Of all the remarkable people I have known, surely my cousin Kathryn was the bravest. Her story is the hardest to confine to one paragraph, but a challenge is a challenge so here it is:
I don’t remember my cousin Kathryn talking much about how she felt. She was so busy cramming as much life as she could into every nook and cranny of her 41 years, she didn’t have any time left over for sitting around and being hurt or mad about the unfairness of her situation. We wanted to be all dramatic and angsty and Steel Magnolias/Terms of Endearment on her, but she would have none of that. What I do remember about Kathryn is laughing until my stomach hurt, and I couldn’t breathe. She talked about the crazy house she grew up in with her mom and dad and 4 brothers and 3 sisters. About getting even with a pesty sibling by flushing the toilet over and over so that the person in the shower lost all their hot water. About waking up to find her sister’s face hovering centimeters above hers in the dark, pretending to be a lion, because she was sleepwalking. She talked about her good ol’ boy husband, bless his heart, and how she wanted to take a gun to him when he went off hunting and left her in a too-small house with three extremely active young boys. About how the only way she could get him to a cancer support group was to tell him it was grief counseling for Dale Earnhardt fans (Not true of course. She said it tongue-in-cheek to comfort a sister cancer victim whose husband wouldn’t come with her.). In Kathryn’s world, everything could be funny. God help me, how I miss her! And how pissed off would she be that I am sitting here crying to think of it, when I could be doing something so much more fun. I am writing, Kathryn, you know it is what I do. You have to let me tell them about you, otherwise how will they know?